Health

Importance of Vitamin D for women's health

March 10, 2017 04:51 PM

Punjab News Express/Dr. Naresh Arora
CHANDIGARH : Vitamin D frequently known as Sunshine Vitamin is essential for women , as it helps them to maintain good immune system by regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorous. Vitamin D is one of the many nutrients in our body which is required to stay healthy. Vitamin D absorbs calcium and helps to build bones and keep bones strong and healthy. It also blocks the release of parathyroid hormone. This hormone reabsorbs bone tissue, which makes bones thin and brittle.

Vitamin D also has a responsibility in muscle function and the immune system. The immune system is your body's defense system. It helps protect it against infections and other illnesses. Taking Vitamin D every day has been shown to reduce the risk of falling in older individuals.

According to the reports submitted by Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, the intakes of Vitamin D should be based on International Unit (IU) per day. The level of Vitamin D varies from person to person and for pregnant and breast feeding women it is required to be 600 IU.

FACTORS THAT CAN LEAD TO VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY
Kidney and liver diseases - These diseases lessen the amount of an enzyme required to change Vitamin D to a form that is used in the body. Lack of these specific enzyme leads to insufficient level of Vitamin D in the body. Cystic fibrosis, crohn's disease, and celiac disease-These diseases do not allow the intestines to absorb enough Vitamin D.

Gastric bypass surgery - This weight-loss surgery removes part of the stomach and/or the intestines. Reducing the size of these organs lowers the amount of Vitamin D-containing nutrients that can be absorbed.

Obesity - A body mass index greater than 30 is associated with lower Vitamin D levels. It is thought that the fat actually holds onto the Vitamin D, and does not allow it to be released into the bloodstream.

Human breast milk - A woman's breast milk only contains a small amount of Vitamin D. Infant formulas often do, too. Therefore infants, particularly those who are breastfed exclusively, are at risk for not receiving enough Vitamin D.

Supplements such as medicines for obtaining Vitamin D can be harmful causing side effects there many natural sources by which one can do away with the deficiency of Vitamin D.

FOLLOWING ARE THE NATURAL SOURCES OF VITAMIN D
Sun Exposure - Vitamin D is formed when the skin is exposed to sunshine. The amount of Vitamin D that one’s skin makes depends on the factors such as the season (i.e., there's usually less sunshine in winter months), the time of day (the sun's rays are most powerful between 10 am and 3 pm), the amount of cloud cover and air pollution, and where you live (cities near the equator have higher UV levels). It's the UV (ultraviolet) light in sunlight that causes the skin to formulate Vitamin D. Sensible sun exposure (usually 5-10 min of exposure of the arms and legs or the hands, arms, and face, 2 or 3 times per week) can help as well.
Cod Liver Oil - If one can stomach the strong aroma, this oil is super-rich in Vitamin D. This golden oil, is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Incorporating this oil into your diet will help promote healthy and strong bones. Because of its high Vitamin D content, cod liver oil has also been shown to fight osteoporosis in adults, improve brain function, and optimize nervous system function.
Coriander Oil - our bodies cannot absorb supplement Vitamin D without “helpers” such as vitamin K, vitamin A, and healthy fats. As a fat-soluble compound, it requires “healthy” cholesterol to transport it into your cells. Without it, the body simply flushes what it is unable to absorb. Coriander seed oil provides this transport system with its fatty acid and essential oil content at nearly 30% by volume. That is coriander oil can eradicate the deficiency of Vitamin D.
Pure, Unprocessed Oils - Such as those marked “organic” and “cold-pressed” are the best for Aromatherapy — because they’re the richest in vitamins including Vitamin D.
FOOD SOURCES (DIET)
The cholecalciferol form (animal-source form of Vitamin D) is the most absorbable and utilized form for the body, but if one is vegan they can opt for ergocalciferol (vegetarian form of Vitamin D). Quality is important. Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3 (1000 IU per soft gel) in the natural form cholecalciferol form. The best way to obtain enough Vitamin D is to eat a variety of healthy foods from all food groups. Foods that pose high content of Vitamin D include:

Eat oily fish- Salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines - one 112g fillet of mackerel contains 18mcg of Vitamin D, an 85g fillet of cooked salmon has 11.2mcg... To get Vitamin D from food, fish is a good option. Six ounces of cooked salmon has more than 600 international units (IU).

Eat eggs- One poached egg contains 1.025mcg of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D in Mushrooms- Mushrooms is a very interesting and rare food when it comes to Vitamin D. They are one of the only plant sources of Vitamin D and actually act similarly to how human skin does, absorbing more Vitamin D when exposed to the sun. In some mushrooms that are now available in certain health food stores, the Vitamin D content is being boosted by exposing these mushrooms to ultraviolet light.
Other sources- Red meat and to a lesser extent, mushrooms and cheese - 1oz of Parmesan contains 2% of your daily requirement.
Foods fortified with Vitamin D- Some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals, yellow corn, beef liver, pumpkin.
CONCLUSION
Severely low levels of Vitamin D can result in a disease called osteomalacia in adults. If left untreated, both conditions lead to soft, brittle bones, bone pain, and muscle pain and weakness. Osteoporosis is associated with reduced bone density, which leads to an increased risk of falls and bone fractures. We need Vitamin D to absorb calcium in the intestines and to reclaim calcium that would otherwise be excreted through the kidneys. Fluctuations in mood by affecting the levels of Serotonin in the brain; high blood pressure and daytime sleepiness are some of the symptoms related to the deficiency of Vitamin D.

According to the research conducted by Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism- Women having adequate level of Vitamin D are likely to combat depression. Recent survey highlights that Vitamin D reduces the risk of Sclerosis. It plays a role in heart health and reduces the chances of heart attack and that it is mostly common to those who suffer from anxiety and depression.

70% of the women are suffering from breast cancer due to Vitamin D deficit. As a result Vitamin D prevents breast cancer cell growth and decreases the genes responsible for cancer, reducing the risk of breast cancer. Thus, Vitamin D plays a very important for the growth, development and wellbeing of women.

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